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· Registered
1,005 Posts
Only conjecture and heresy

Conjecture, which we have explored in previous threads. The only things we have, that are substantive, may be the artifacts which have been reported:

1] They are unissued, perhaps unfired
2] They are a collection of near-Armistice parts, some pickled and not 'stoved', others appearing to be defective/rejected parts.
3] The quality of assemblage is not as consistent, nor to the standard of serial-production examples.
4] The bayonets are all from earlier rifles, or gunshow replacements from a latter-day.
5] None are import marked, so one might think them souvenirs.
6] Some have incorrect sight leafs, and will not shoot to point of aim.
7] They all have 'type 2' factory receivers, some of the later type.
8] The font on the numbered examples is very different from that used upon serialized rifles.
9] The bolt-stems, when marked, are numbered upon the outboard side.
0] They have a 'sticky' bolt-cap, which requires detenting the striker, and the use of a gripping tool, for removal.
1] Headspace is out-of-tolerance; will not close on "Go". (COMMON-TO: three of six, reported "Sterile" Examples)

The discrepancies pose problems for all of the theories, yet proposed. Both the unissued condition, and the survivability rate of a minor production group, mitigates toward rifles that were removed from their stands, at the point of Liberation, not subsequent to that event. Nor were they removed from any field.

We see the bayonet, from what may well be a five digit "F" series 'cut-away instruction aid', and one is tempted to think that such a rifle resided in proximity to the #486. When I first saw the handle I thought "prototype". But, no engineer would propose a debris-trap, for what is otherwise a sealed rifle.

I) The forearm of number 5 'Mystery Sterile', is patched, and was split when the bayonet copula was installed, (rejected part?). The bolt-face and extractor are as new.
II) A second view of the patch, which is not quite up to the usual quality of such repairs.

· Banned
2,873 Posts
I have #420....must have come down the line just a short bit before yours.

For those keeping track of such things.... Here is its story....The pic showing the rifle missing the handguard is how I found it. The stock was cut under the rear band, but I have no clue why, and it was missing the rear band, and bayonet when found. It is documented as coming home with a Corporal in the 3rd Army. It was one of several long guns, and handguns he came home with. I have his bring back paperwork, where the rifle is listed only as "French Rifle" with no serial listed.

I have since added the early rear band, handguard, sling and bayonet to make it complete. So in study of this particular rifle, those concerned can exclude those parts from thier studies as non-original.

I had posted pics of this years ago here on the old forums, so pardon if this is redundant....If anyone needs more info on it for their studies, just let me know, will be glad to post more pics, or fill in the details.

· Registered
1,005 Posts

The #420 is now entered upon the collective list. Excellent pictures and narrative; but it seems to have as much in common the the #360. Is the bolt-cap removed easily, or is it a process requiring tools and words? Could the date of the documentation be significant, or is it a post-Victory, ETO?

To All:

Who have either the sterile or numbered "Mysteries", please feel free to disagree, or add to the 'eleven features' list, which I have enumerated, above. Any source-provenance might also be helpful; i.e., the "Old Boy's" war-stories, which are now apart of the family's narrative.

· Registered
1,005 Posts
Thank You Bill, the minutia sometimes pays off! The bolt-caps proper, are eccentric and have an outside-diameter a few thousandths larger than the 'widow-makers' or the latter-day seared-cap. This causes them to bind against the annular ridge at the rear of the bolt-body. In all other regards the bolt-cap assembly appears to be unremarkable, showing measurements similar to both the earlier and later type.

This discrepancy is now confirmed in four of the listed examples, and 100% of those examined. While the temptation would be to simply replace the original bolt-cap, one must understand that to do so will diminish the rifle's significance.

Pictures to follow. (Hard drive failure, and not everything is yet, as it should be)

1] From the left:
a] Bolt-Cap from 'Sterile' #5
b] Post-War rebuild
c] G 42570 - MODIFIED receiver (without the "LK5" mark or the Numbers added to the Pistol-Grip flat)

2] Cut-View of the above Caps, in the same order

3] 'A study in the progression of coinage':
a] 'Sterile #5', again
b] H 33057 - MODIFIED receiver (with the "LK5" mark and '11' upon the Grip flat)
c] Cap from a Post-War rebuild
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